HYDERABAD: The Department of Plant Production (DPP) and All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) have started a campaign against fruit flies in mangoes to avert a likely export ban by the European Union.

The campaign is being run in Punjab and Sindh’s orchards, DPP’s Director General Dr Mubarak told a seminar on ‘Fruit Fly and Pest Free Mango Export to the World’, jointly organised by the two organisations here on Saturday.

According to a PFVA press release, Dr Mubarak said the EU has warned Pakistan that it would thoroughly examine its mangoes when they land in the 28-nation bloc.

“India will try its best to get Pakistani mangoes banned in the EU like it has been banned there in March this year. Therefore, farmers and exporters should take extra measure to ensure that our mangoes do not contain the bug,” he said.

Dr Mubarak said his department was registering fruit orchards in Punjab and Sindh. The first round of the registration in Punjab has been completed, while it started registering farms in Sindh from Saturday, he said.

Orchards would be examined after the registration, and the department would exempt those farms from hot water treatment where fruit flies were not found, he said. However, treatment is must for unregistered farms.

Waheed Ahmed, spokesman for the association, said this was first of four seminars being held to create awareness and suggesting measures against fruit fly in the country. The other three seminars of the series will be held in the next 15 days in Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur.

The county is expected to produce 1.8 million tonnes of mangoes this year, of which 65 per cent will be produced in Punjab and rest of 35pc in Sindh, he said.

He said only research and development can help growers do away with such problems including fruit flies. He added that seminars are being held with the aim of bridging the gap between farmers and exporters, and to make farmers aware of their problems and to suggest them solutions.

Researcher Hadi Bux Leghari said the fruit fly can be dealt with at orchards by taking measures, including crop hygiene and sanitation, by adopting male annihilation technology and bait application technique, by use of bio-pesticides and insecticides.

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